Edit Blog Post
Published: June 26th 2010
Picture Perfect, Franz Josef Glacier
We awoke in the leisure centre park to start our forth week in New Zealand and started our day by visiting our third ford dealership of the trip in Greymouth. WIth BIG FAT SUE dropped off at the garage we decided to visit the information centre where we booked ourselves onto the next days adventure down in Franz Josef, Glacier Hiking. After the info centre, we called a caravan club meeting to decide how to waste some time whilst we were waiting for SUE to be mended, the best idea was to search some local charity shops for comedy ski wear; as we would be skiing later on in the trip. The hunt began.... The Salvation Army was up first and it was a cracker, Cerri and Kate both picked up some retro 80's ski fleeces with Matt deciding to deviate from the ski wear and purchased a Cambridge University Rugby Top (which he's been wearing non-stop ever since!!!) We scoured the rest of Greymouth's opportunity shops or opp shops as they're known but to no avail, I was saving my pennies for a beauty! This took up a couple a couple of hours, which was perfect timing to pick up
BIG FAT SUE from the Garage. With SUE all back to herself and running fine we set off on the road to Franz Josef, stopping at a tiny town called Ross on our way. Here we decided to partake in some panning for gold, unfortunatley the shop to hire your gold pans was closed so Matt resorted to using a collinder as he was a bit too keen!!! Within minutes of stifting through the river bed Matt thought he'd struck gold literally, only to be informed by a rather strange lady passing by that is was infact fools gold - it certainly fooled us!!! Getting back on the road we arrived at our destination, the town of Franz Josef. Unfortunatley for us the town was scattered with signs saying 'no camping', so we opted to go to a campsite for the night, but Matt and Cerri did manage to blag that there were only 2 of us in the campervan (their good liars!) - Happy days!!!
After a night of half price camping we got up early ready for the days hike up the Franz Josef Glacier, arriving at the centre we got kitted up with our hiking gear
from spikes, gloves, coats and waterproof trousers. A short bus ride away and we'd arrived at the track leading up to the glacier, although the glacier looked close it was actually 4 km away! Our guide for the day 'Zack' took us through a new track through the undergrowth and woods to reach the river, once here we split into smaller groups. Our Group included the Caravan Club and a couple from Hong Kong, Phil and Molly. Next we started to zig zag our way up the first part of the Glacier which was covered in debris from the surrounding cliffs and river bed that passes through the middle of the track, this was the steepest part and tested our fitness or lack of I should say to the max. Sadly this was where 'Molly the Moaner' left us, as she was really struggling, but 'Hong Kong Phil' (not Chinese Alan!) decided to continue on up with us much to Molly's disgust! We then stopped to attach the spikes to our hiking boots before carrying on our way and starting our hike on the ice. We walked up the man made ice steps, went through ice blue caves which was
amazing and unreal; we then finally we got to drink from a fresh glacier waterfall before stopping for lunch. Whilst we were having a snack we witnessed a Green Parrot fly down on the ice and attack Phil's back pack! Zack the guide later told us that these parrots are an endangered species in New Zealand due to the fact that farmers kill them, as the parrots were known to hunting their sheep in packs!!! Zack tried to scare him off as he also said that they are a bit of a pest as they normally steal your lunch right out of your hands, after the duck incident earlier on in our trip we all ate our lunch at a mighty speed! We descented back down the glacier which included Zack having to make some steps out of the ice with a pick axe and met back up with 'Molly The Moaner' before catching the bus back into town. As the day had been an a strenous one on the muscles, we checked into the local hot thermal glacier spa pools to relax and unwind before treating ourselves to a meal out. Now Franz Josef is a tiny place so
Leaning Tower of Wanaka
the options to eat out were limited, we opted for a place called The Landing which inticed us in with the roaring wood fires. The food did not disappoint us with ridiculously big portions at great prices; our bellys stuffed we headed back to SUE for the night and a well earned rest.
The next day we left Franz Josef and headed further south towards Wanaka. Our road trip took us first past Bruce Bay, where everybody seems to leave a message by writing on the white stones that get washed up on the shore. Sadly we didn't have a marker pen to write on, so we resorted to engraving on a stone using a bic biro . . .. if any of you visit let us know if you see our rock! From here we we continued along the road, taking the Haast Past route through the mountains, we stopped to see the Thunder falls waterfall to break up the 145km road to Wanaka. It took us a good 3 hours negiotiating the bendy roads up and down through the mountains before we arrived at our destination. We popped into the information centre on the shores of Lake
Enjoying the view at Franz Josef
Wanaka, where a guy called Simon said we were able to free camp on his land, nice chap! We decided to have a bit of dinner out . . . . again, and headed to a place called 'Muzza's (nearly Mozza's!) for food. Here we enjoyed eating by a roaring wood fire whilst watching the All Blacks vs Ireland rugby match. After we drove up to Simon's land to check out the free camping situation, once there we decided that the patch of land that we were offered we wouldn't be able to park on looked as it was a bit hilly and we were worried that we'd get stuck in the mud! With that we headed back into Wanaka town and parked up outside a backpapers for the night and did our usual "we're staying here" act. The temperature really dropped that night to minus 5, so Matt & Kate slept in their balacalva's and would have scared off any people that tried to knock us!!!
An early start the next morning as world cup fever gripped the Caravan Club as England's first game kicked off at 6.30am New Zealand time. We all managed to drag ourselves out
I see ewe!
of bed, I say all apart from Cerri who decided that she was unable to move herself from under the warm duvet and the fact that she's Welsh!!! A Bacon sandwich and one and a half hours later we disappointly returned to BIG FAT SUE after a 1-1 draw with the USA. I think my Dad sumed the game up best with a text saying ''slippery green fingers cost England!'' We grabbed a few of hours of kip before visiting Puzzling World, just outside Wanaka. We spent the next few hours looking at different illusions, tried to work our way out of the maze and took some comedy photo's with the leaning tower of Wanaka. Back on the road again we treked down to the city of Invercargill which took up most of the day, only stopping at the town of Winton (named after Dale!) for a quick toilet stop!
We thought we'd spend the following day discovering the city of Invercargill... an hour later we were done!!! There really wasn't much to see or do here, although we did get to see a New Zealand's Lizard called the Tuatura which was around 110 years old in the bizarre
Surf & Turf at Jacks Bay
information centre / museum / art gallery. These Lizards are one of the last discentants of Dinosaurs apparently. The only other thing we did in this city in need of a regeneration , was have a stroll round the Queens Gardens to look at the wildlife on show including an Emu and some Alpaca's as well as an aray of different birds, pigs, sheep, goats, rabbits, guinea pigs, a family of deers and a wallaby which must have been stolen from Australia! With Invercargill done and dusted we got on the road (eventually!) after Kate (our navigator for the day) got us lost! We headed for a little village called Waikawa for the night, now in this village there was no phone signal or broadband but a helpful old lady did say we could use a computer at a local mans green painted house round the corner who had old school dial up! We aptly named this guy ''Dial up Derek'', but decided not to go round to his house incase he was some kind of serial killer!
After a cold and windy night in BIG FAT SUE we warmed up with a nice cup of tea and drove
a bit further down the road to Purpoise bay to see if we could spot any dolphins or sea lions, unfortunatley we didn't get to see any but heard a few noises from the bushes and thought we saw a few fins out at sea but to be honest I think we were all imagining it! Next we drove round the corner to visit Curio Bay to the the Petrified forest (or whats left of it!), a few hours either side of low tide you can see a nest of fossilised jurassic aged tree stumps. There were also yellow eyed penguins to see at Curio Bay, but you guessed it we timed it wrong and they were all out at sea on their travels!!! We left and drove back towards the main road, stopping off at Niagara Falls (yes you heard me correctly!). I now quote from the Lonely Planet "debate rages whether these or their North American cousin are more impressive", they were clearly taking the mick as the falls were about 2 feet high so we all had a giggle had a few comedy pic's and headed back to SUE!!! Back on the road and we came across
Cerri applying to work at the Queen Vic!
the dreaded windy road signs, now normally its 8 km of windy roads or 16 km - this time it was a whooping 56km and I was driving!!! This road was leading us to Dunedin, we pulled over at the Florence Hill look out to see the views of the bays down below, then we took an unsealed road for a while to Jacks Bay and parked up amoungst sheep on the sea front, Cerri felt quite at home here! We took a short walk through the nearby farmers field to Jacks Blowhole, which was in the middle of a sheep paddock but some 200 metres from the sea connected by subterranean caverns. The hole its self was a staggering 55 metres deep and 140 metres long, with the sea smashing against the walls below propelling it up the blowhole. After lunch back in SUE we finally got off the horrible windy road and arrived at our destination, the City of Dunedin. Dinner was a Domino's pizza that night (obviously there was a deal on!), before retiring to the Dunedin Yacht Club car park where we would spend the next few nights.
The next morning we parked up in
Caravan Club plus Hong Kong Phil
the centre, but unfortunately whilst parking the beast that is BIG FAT SUE I accidentlly drove her into a sign hanging from a lamp post, luckily no damage was done! We popped into the information Centre to see what Dunedin had to offer the Caravan Club, turns out a lot more than Invercargill! We booked ourselves onto the Speights Brewery Tour, the Tour itself took 90 minutes and was a little disappointing as our Guide was lacking enthusiasm, that was until we got to the end of the tour when we were all able to do some beer tasting! He came alive at this point and proceeded to tell us that he was the lead singer of the band that produced the song ''Southern Man'', which Speights Beer use in their adverts. We did get to pour our own beers during the tasting sessions, so obviously we tried to sample as many different ones as possible! We stumbled out of the brewery and ventured in town where we tried to get tickets for the upcoming All Blacks vs Wales rugby international, we asked in numerous places including sports sports and the info centre beforing heading to the library to make
Blue Ice Cave, Franz Josef Glacier
the most of the free internet and also see if there were any tickets available online, after which we returned to our lavish parking space at the yacht club for the evening.
Ben & Cerri's Tip of the Week - Mr Cappello, if your reading please play David James in goal at all times!
Tot: 3.137s; Tpl: 0.019s; cc: 13; qc: 24; dbt: 0.0186s; 3; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb